US President Biden signs order mandating masks on aircraft

The new US administration of President Joe Biden is requiring face coverings be worn on flights for the next 100 days, in a more rigorous attempt to contain exploding coronavirus case counts across the country.

On 20 January, Biden signed an executive order called the “100 Days Masking Challenge,” which requires face masks to be worn on all federal property, including national parks, and during interstate travel on public transportation by air, land or sea. It was one of his first official acts after his inauguration earlier in the day.

In addition, he is asking state and local leaders as well as business executives to implement mask-wearing in their areas of responsibility.

Airlines have been clamoring for such a federal mandate for months, saying it would add weight and enforcement to the mask requirement that US airlines have already implemented.

Pilots’ union Air Line Pilots’ Association, International (ALPA) says on 20 January that it supports the president’s move. “Voluntary implementation leaves too much risk of Covid-19 exposure for frontline aviation workers,” the organisation says on its Twitter feed.

While most air travellers comply with mask rules, US airlines have had to ban hundreds of passengers for various unruly behaviour that includes refusal to wear face coverings since the coronavirus pandemic’s initial lockdowns in March 2020…

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